After a long separation Jacob is returning to the land of his father. He knows this also means a showdown with his brother, Esau. Thirty four years prior, Jacob had fled Esau’s wrath. This long avoided confrontation may well cost Jacob his life. On his journey home, just before meeting Esau, Jacob and his clan come to the River Jabbok.
Jacob sends his wives, his maids and his eleven children across the river. That night Jacob is left alone, and in the dark God comes to wrestle with him. They wrestle all night long in an epic battle. As day is about to break God touches the hollow of Jacob’s thigh, painfully dislocating his leg. Still, Jacob will not be subdued. Jacob will not give in. He will not let go until God blesses him. Sorely crippled and and in terrible despair Jacob cries out, “I will not let you go unless you bless me!”
The “heel catcher”, “the supplanter”, “the attacker from the rear”, Jacob has been beaten at his own game. And with this Divine beatdown Jacob receives a new name. From this day on, Jacob will carry a new name and he will limp.
Nowadays, I look for those that have a “halt in their giddy-up”. Those that sorely limp, you know have battled hard with God. Oh, God bless 'em … for most honored are those God has chosen worthy to wrestle with. Yes, Lord bless those sons that limp through their earthly walk. For I have been given an inspired vision to see what lays beyond the halted steps of these veterans of great battles fought and lost with their God. I have wept at the hidden beauty of these lamed ones. While they carry a halt in their steps on earth, I have seen them run through the Heavens as strong horses full of God’s power and glory. Lord, I only pray you grant me to run with them!
What a blessing it is to find one, that you know God has a short reign on. They have no place to turn … no place to go. You might even see that reign tightened as you fellowship and you share in the frustrations and the pain of dreams and plans delayed. You know well the drill yourself, thus you empathize, you pray and you encourage. It’s a rare thing to find one that is made for a wrestling match with God.
On the other hand, how often in the past I thought, I had found one that really knew Him … knew Him intimately and had tasted the fellowship of His suffering … really knew God’s heart. Then later, I was sorely disappointed. I found we weren’t kinsmen, but of differing tribes. We were of a different land. Our language was not common. Yeah, the disappointment hurts and it hurts deeply. However, you continue to search through the crowds of Christendom, knowing there are hidden a few more kinsmen to be still found.
I praise Him and pray daily for the brethren that He has brought to me. These are those I sup with, in the sweet light of fellowship where there is no shadow of pretense or advantage. What wondrous glory to share Jesus with those that have been stripped of all false securities. How beautiful an honor it is, to sit with one that has been wounded, crippled and broken down until they realized, like Jacob, their true nature and their real name.
Oh how I love Jesus’ kinsmen for it His death working in them that brings life to me and vice versa. Another wheel within the wheel, a shining circle of love unbroken.
"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you."
These below are some of my favorite scriptures for I know of these battles and I love those that have also fought them. God yes, these wrestlers turned prince’s… they have a different name and only those of the same tribe, know this name. Is this not the tribal initiation? Is this not where the new name is given? I think so.
“And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had. And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me. I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Gen 32:22-30
My friend have you been to Peniel. Has God wrestled with you until He has made you confess your true character and your real nature to Him? Has He humbled you by placing His finger in the hollow of your thigh? Has He left you with a limp that you might ever be known as one that wrestled with God?
If He has, you are Israel*
And you are my kinsmen
And I love you like a long lost brother.
“And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
“And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept. And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.” Gen 32:29,30 & Gen 33:1,4,10
God would not tell Jacob with whom he battled. Yet, Jacob calls the place where he wrestled “God’s Face”, because he had seen God face to face there.
The limping Jacob then crosses the river, where he meets Esau. Esau falls on Jacob’s neck, kissing and hugging him. Jacob exclaims, “seeing Esau is like seeing the face of God.”
We will wrestle with many things in this life and in reality we are wrestling God. We will also see God’s face in the most unlikely of places and in the most unlikely of men. Such are the appointed ways of a “Godwrestler”
- Israel - Hebrew; meaning “he who
strives with God” or “God contends”